Why I celebrate Thanksgiving!

by Anna Blanch on November 25, 2010

For Americans, Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates survival of the pilgrims in the harsh climes of the New England. But it’s a holiday that, as an Australian expat, I have also come to appreciate and to celebrate. While the stories of pilgrims and Indians have little relevance to me, there is something about this particular holiday that has drawn me in. Thanksgiving offers a moment to share food with friends and neighbours and to share the joys and blessings of life. It is particularly enjoyable to experience those foods that are connected to this holiday for others. Thanksgiving also prompts me to consciously stop and take stock of the events of the previous year, and to begin to turn one’s mind the preparations for Christmas. Coming shortly after Harvest festival, Thanksgiving is a holiday that offers a moment to be grateful for what we have, and look beyond ourselves. Often it doesn’t feel like we have a lot to be thankful for, especially when it seems like the world is a bit of a mess. Yet, In relative terms, we are wealthy beyond what we can really comprehend. But I wonder what happens when we take a moment to consider the source of all that we have and to whom it is that we owe thanks? To whom and for what are you thankful for today? I wonder what happens if we begin to think of Thanksgiving as an attitude and a way of living, rather than simply an imported holiday.

I have to be off now – I have Pavlovas to make and stuffing to prepare!

Anna Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD candidate in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland. She is also a regular contributor to Transpositions.

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